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Oct 13, 2006


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As a student of complimentarianism/patriarchy, I was ASTOUNDED to discover the Household Codes.

Keep in mind, I was so sure that we needed to take the Bible literally/seriously, that I refused to look at culture...(sad, but that's sort of what you are taught---"it HAS to be literal, if you think it's cultural, you have just compromised the entire word of God," etc, etc, etc, creating quite a spirit of closed eyes and ears)! The Roman/Greek Household Code is absolutely essential, though, to know about, because it creates the backdrop for Paul's Ephesians and Colossians "household codes." Fascinating stuff...

I've written about this previously:
http://adventuresinmercy.wordpress.com/2006/07/22/roman-household-code/ a few months back as I was newly discovering it...


Another great summary. I think that the social location of Galatians argues along the lines of Fee - the issue that opens the letter is Paul's opposing Peter for "not acting in line with the truth of the gospel" (2:14). But the issue wasn't some sort of Pelagian controversy - it was table fellowship. To argue that 3:26-29 has no effect on our social and communal lives is to nullify Paul's opposition of Peter in chapter 2 (at least in my reading).

Thanks for a great summary!

Michael Kruse

Molly I have been in the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA)old for two decades. (By mainline I mean the United Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA), United Church of Christ, Christian Church, North American Baptist, and PCUSA.) The reality is that there are people who do try to develop "cultural contextual" schemes in order to legitimate their preset agendas. We are fallen and the temptation to bend things to what our ears want to hear is true for all of us so a little healthy skepticism about cultural analysis is not unwarranted.

That said, there is know way to read scripture without doing a cultural analysis! When Paul writes about husbands and wives, do we read about the spouses as if they are in an Iraqi context, or Japanese context, or Italian context or Bushman context? No. We read spouse in terms of the context of early twenty-first century in America. While it may not be a conscious exercise on our part, it is the application of cultural context to the words of scripture. The question isn’t of using cultural context or not using it. The question is about which context. That is the shift I think many of those who are so reluctant to struggle with context need to make.

Thanks for your comments!

Michael Kruse

You are welcome Scott. I think the key is "for you are all one in Christ Jesus" because while clearly salvation is part of the issue the social divisions are clearly in mind as well as you mentioned. The divisions are gone and we are one.

Michael Kruse

Molly, one further thought. I am intrigued by the fact the household code made such an impact on you. I struggled with many of these pieces for years but when I finally got a grip on the households it was like somebody adjusted the camera lens and suddenly all sorts of stuff came into focus. In discussions about this topic, I have more and more often begun to use this as the entry point for dialog.


YES. I experienced the same thing---like a camera lens was just adjusted. Things I had been wondering about, puzzling over, researching, feeling (to be honest) really FEARFUL for wondering about, etc, all of a sudden became clear. It was like being a bloodhound who had caught the scent every now and then, but was starting to wonder if he was crazy (or just going the absolute WRONG way)...but then, all of a sudden, caught not just a scent but found the TRAIL.

Okay, so I didn't bay like a bloodhound, but my spirit felt like it wanted to! :)

Michael Kruse

I didn't bay like a bloodhound, but my spirit felt like it wanted to!"



You want to know something REALLY funny...
I just realized (in the post I linked to above, re. when I first began learning about the codes) that IN that post, I linked to one of YOUR previous blog posts about the codes...

DUH... :)

Michael Kruse

That just makes it all the more special to me.

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